Paul Rabil plays Major League Lacrosse with the Boston Cannons, but eight years ago he was a high school senior preparing for graduation.
During his three years at DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), Rabil led the lacrosse team to three Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championships and totaled 288 career points.
The two-time lacrosse All-American spoke with ESPNHS about his days at DeMatha in the second of a six-part series leading up to the 2012 Warrior 40. Read the first installment here.
The Warrior 40, which takes place Aug. 13-15 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., is a three-day competition that features the nation's top underclass high school lacrosse players.
ESPNHS: What was your average day like in high school?
Paul Rabil: I think my lifestyle was a little bit different than most. I transferred to DeMatha to focus on lacrosse and have an opportunity to play at the highest level in Maryland, but with that came some sacrifice. My drive was about 45 minutes to an hour. I woke up at 6 a.m. each day and always had breakfast on the road. I probably got home about 7:30 each night.
ESPNHS: How did that schedule help shape the person you are today?
PR: It was difficult, but I think it helped me with my time management. I didn’t have too much time to mess around like most people did from 2:30 to 5:00 after school. When I did struggle, there was a constant reminder of why I was doing what I was doing. I loved lacrosse and I made the decision to go to DeMatha to help improve as a player, so every time it got difficult I was constantly reminded why based on the fact of the sacrifice I was making each day.
ESPNHS: What were your interests outside of sports in high school?
PR: I really enjoyed spending time with my friends. That’s the great thing about playing lacrosse is that most of the time you’re doing it with your best friends. You get to share your entire afternoon with them, compete with them and for me I got to carpool home with them.
ESPNHS: What was your favorite hangout after games?
PR: It’s not great to say, but we ate a lot of double-cheeseburgers at the McDonald’s down the street from DeMatha. If I could go back I’d change that and I’d eat something healthier. I have made up for that recently in the lack of appearances at McDonald’s over the last 10 years.
ESPNHS: Was there any time in your career where you thought you might not play college lacrosse?
PR: Not once I made the sacrifice to attend DeMatha. When you decide you want to do something and you dedicate a large portion of your life to getting it done you can’t have any doubt. You have to know the work you’re putting into it will lead you to reaching your goals.
ESPNHS: What happened between your freshman and sophomore years to make you decide to attend DeMatha?
PR: My freshman year I made the varsity team [at Watkins Mill in Maryland] and started. I scored lots of goals for the varsity and I really fell in love with the game. It really sparked the motivation in me to take it to the next level. I wanted to put myself in the best position to succeed. My parents put in a few calls to local coaches. Coach Long at DeMatha introduced himself and the rest is history.
ESPNHS: When did you know lacrosse was going to be in your future for college?
PR: After my freshman year. I knew I was going to play Division I lacrosse and that was the reason I transferred. I wanted to be as prepared as I could.
ESPNHS: What were your thoughts about the recruiting process as it was happening back then?
PR: It was unbelievable. Coaches were reaching out to you and trying to get you to attend their school. There was nothing like it and it was a big ego boost for a young high school player. You try to enjoy the moment and use your time and make sure everything is right. Try not to let anyone force the decision on you. I was fortunate to have well-established coaches and great people recruit me. They let me take my time and feel out the schools.
ESPNHS: How did you balance recruiting with your daily commute, practice and schoolwork?
PR: I just found time. The one thing you can’t stop in this world is time, but with that kind of commitment you can always work harder and make time for yourself to get things done. That was an enjoyable aspect of my life and I was happy to make more time to do it.